Bonus: Lake Estes has a wading beach. You can rent all the gear at the marina; make sure you buy a fishing license, too. Make a pit stop at the Windy Saddle Trailhead for some beautiful views and enjoy one of Denver’s uncrowded hiking trails. What is the most scenic route to take? These national forests, in the Rocky Mountains, are home to a wildlife refuge that protects birds and mammals. But that’s not really the case. His wife's job in medical devices takes her all over the country and Robert travels with her whenever he can. This has earned Trail Ridge the title of North America’s highest paved through-road. Colorado is home to 26 Scenic and Historic Byways. 119) to the casino towns of Central City and Black Hawk. 72) to Estes Park, or south (Hwy. © 2020 Boulder Convention & Visitors Bureau. One hour and fifteen minutes to 3 and a half hours, depending upon how slow you go and how many times you stop to take pictures. So when I say that I’ve driven all over Colorado, I mean it. As for variety, well, we’re calling the top prize on that one as well. The phrase “mid-June snowstorm” gives you a pretty good picture of how high up you’ll be. This paved loop goes around the lake and welcomes dogs and offers bike rentals. Are there a lot of stops along the way? How do you know the trip has already occurred? This is the place to stay if you’re making the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway the centerpiece for a vacation. Boulder To Nederland. The Peak to Peak Scenic and Historic Byway is Colorado’s oldest scenic byway, established in 1918. He works as a landscape architect during the day and a writer at night. Cookie Policy - Contact Us - Lake Estes. (New 10/2018), Is it CU or UC? Or maybe just looking for a head-clearing cruise with views of Boulder from afar. This scenic drive is beautiful year-round, but it’s especially popular in the fall, when the mountains burst into life with the shimmering golden leaves of the changing aspen trees. The majority of the road is gravel, but it’s well maintained by the state and does not require four-wheel drive. This is the point on the top of the mountain range that divides the continent, hydrologically. Top of the Rockies. Fact is, author Stephen King was inspired to write “The Shining” when he stayed in the hotel. It's warm and dry in Denver now, but I don't know what's forecast. Send a private message to the_scarecrow_in_oz, Send a private message to historytraveler. Don't you learn from posts where the trip has already passed? Trail of the Ancients National Scenic Byway, about Everything You Need to Know About Independence Pass, about 8 More Ways to Experience Colorado History, about Visit Meeker Colorado Through the Seasons: Where There’s Room to Roam, about Colorado Scenic Byway: Tracks Across Borders, See a virtual edition of our Guide to Colorado's Scenic Byways, 5 Waterfall Hikes in Rocky Mountain National Park, Wildlife Watching in Rocky Mountain National Park, Top 5 Wildflowers to Spot in Rocky Mountain National Park. I plan trips 12 months or more ahead of time. The route from Granby to Steamboat Springs is one of my favorites, not only for the history, but also for the views. I would suggest taking (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? Unlimited stops, edit, share, find recommended places of interest and campgrounds, manage budgets, print or export directions and more. The most common way to leave the mountains and get back to Denver is to take Interstate 70 through the Eisenhower Tunnel and begin the slow descent to the Mile High City. You’ll find trails, diverting roads to explore, alpine lakes, campgrounds and so much more. The terrain doesn’t look like anywhere I’ve been in the U.S. -- it looks like the Alps in Switzerland. The trip from Boulder to Nederland is only 17 miles -- it’s the shortest of all of the drives listed here. This glamorous, old, white mansion is perched on the top of a hill above Estes Park. That might sound weird to visitors, but it's a common fall-time tradition among the locals. No congestion as mentioned but do watch out for cyclists on those routes. Elbert and Mt. Afterwards, make your way to the Denver Art Museum. This lake can get pretty busy, but that’s because it’s packed with outdoor adventure. Pro Tip: If you have the time, take the turnoff for Lost Lake Campground and check out Lost Lake. You can do the dramatic Big Thompson Canyon as a loop drive from Estes Park. Sorry, forgot about I-70 to I-25 to (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? Need to end up at (ta && ta.queueForLoad ? Go snowshoeing or cross-country skiing here in the winter. Kebler Pass is high up in the mountains above Crested Butte, so get ready to experience a mountain road. If you are a resident of another country or region, please select the appropriate version of Tripadvisor for your country or region in the drop-down menu. And you can see that if you make the drive from Grand Junction to Dinosaur. Water runs one direction on one side of the divide and the other direction on the other. There are so many things to do in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s hard to avoid a helping of history with your Colorado scenic drive. Many elk live in this area. It’s less than an hour away from Denver and right outside of the college towns of Boulder and Fort Collins, a convenience that adds to its allure. If I had to choose one state for a driving vacation -- a state with as many scenic drives as possible -- the choice would come down to two states: Colorado and California. How long do you think it would take to do the Boulder-Nederland-Estes Park drive? Wondering what's open? Any time off is spent, you guessed it, traveling. Ghost towns (Hesse, Caribou, and Apex). This scenic drive is less than a half hour from downtown Denver and boasts plenty of beautiful views. Colorado has nothing like the coastline drive through California’s Big Sur, but it has almost everything else. Arapaho and Roosevelt National Forests. We should be on the road by noon, and our goal is to get to the Jackson area as early as we can on June 11. Or just find one of the 100-plus picnic sites to set up a scenic picnic. Maybe go through Colorado Springs? While you will miss Boulder Canyon, there are not many deciduous trees in the canyon — most are on the Peak to Peak Byway — so you will still see plenty of colors. Check one of the best off your bucket list at the Golden Gate Canyon State Park. Due to changing advisories, please check local travel guidelines before visiting. You pass through all of the mountain peaks as you progress from east to west in Colorado, and then you come upon an area that looks more like Montana or the Dakotas than Colorado. I was thinking of spending 1 day in Denver, 1 day in Boulder, and then 3 days in RMNP. Click on a trip item for more information or click the 'X' to remove, or go directly to the Trip Planner. It’s more than 150 miles and will take well over 3 hours. It’s 2006 addition was designed by world-renown architect Daniel Libeskind and is fascinating to look at from the outside since the museum’s exterior features geometric angles made from titanium. The Continental Divide. I would suggest taking Boulder Canyon (119) to Nederland, south on the Peak to Peak Scenic Byway (72) to Golden Gate Canyon (46). The twists and turns through the canyon are incredible, and when you get to Nederland, you'll round a corner and see a massive reservoir in front of you (Barker Mountain Reservoir). There are so many other highlights along the way that it’s hard to pick which ones to stop at. The byway will take you through some of the Front Range’s best mountain towns: Estes Park (with its charming, old-fashioned downtown and bugling elk), Nederland (a quirky town and home to the Carousel of Happiness), and Black Hawk and Central City (both old mining towns turned into casino destinations, previously nicknamed "the richest square mile on earth”).


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